Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Changing gears

I think I know what irony is and I think this is an example of irony. If you don't know, America is the land of cars with automatic gears, whereas the UK is the land of cars with manual gears, as is Europe generally.

For once I am very pleased Australia has followed the US and prefers cars with automatic gear changing. Some still choose manual cars here and you do often have to pay more for an automatic car, but when the time comes to sell or trade it in, good luck. You'll need it. Even people buying used cars want automatics.

So when the American

34 comments:

  1. Andrew, in Poland most cars are with manual gears it demands to be a skilfull friver but it is not the problem for me but there are more and more automatic gears

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    1. Gosia, my sister will only have a manual car. She says it gives her better control, but modern automatic cars do give you good control without even using an auto as a manual, such as when going down a steep hill and I touch the brakes, the car changes down a gear to give engine braking.

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  2. To quote Alanis Morisette: "Isn't it ironic, don't you think..."

    I grew up on a farm, driving tractors and such... as well, my father was a bit older when I was born. He insisted I learn to drive a manual, since I would then be able to 'shift' (sorry for the pun!) to driving an automatic quite easily. The reverse is not true. There have been times in my life when, had I been unable to drive a manual, I would have been stuck in very bad situations. It just made sense to ensure that the Great Scot also had this skill... and my daughter.
    Glad I amused you!

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    1. Jac, that is quite true it is a useful skill. No one has to be an expert, but at least know how to do it. I occasionally had to drive an old farm truck when I was young, so I had to know how to double de-clutch as well. Only if I drive Sister's or Bone Doctor's car, which is rare, do I have to change gears and while I can do it, it is a skill you become rusty at.

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  3. Yes. That is ironic.

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    1. Good Bill. I thought so, but good to have it confirmed.

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  4. My husband taught our daughter to drive a manual, most of his family did the same with their kids, because you never know when you may have to. In spite of most people having automatics, you might one day have to borrow a car or have to help someone move their car for whatever reason and if that car is a manual at least you'll know how to drive it.

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    1. River, that was the thinking as manuals started to give way to automatics but I doubt it is now. Hippie Niece only learnt to drive a manual after she bought one, having learnt in an automatic.

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  5. Our family (European imports) all insisted on manual cars. Most still do.

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    1. EC, they are becoming a rarer breed and the resale is a real issue.

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  6. What happened to part 2 on the good neighbours did I miss it, never driven in my life now the beer fairy doesn't drive after a lifetime of truck driving.
    Merle.......

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    1. Merle, pt 2 is only half written. Might be a few days yet, not sure.

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  7. My family is all manual, which presented some difficulties when a 20 year old me was asked to move my boss's car - I soon discovered it to be an automatic, which I'd never been in one before!

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    1. Marcus, ever though of trying bondage? That is tying your left ankle to something to stop you pressing down hard on brake pedal with your left foot thinking it is the clutch. Another benefit of seat belts, so your passenger doesn't hit their head on the windscreen.

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  8. My driving instructor always taught manual first to make us multi-task then after the test we could go to automatic.
    Will that give you nightmares, the fact that I almost learnt to drive a car and could have been next to you in traffic one day?

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    1. Not nightmares Jah Teh. You would be among the 15% perhaps of drivers who are truly appalling. They mostly survive. I remember Ann O'Dyne writing about her Mr Magoo father.

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  9. There is an entire generation of people who don't know what the term "manual car" refers to. Just as there are two generations of people who don't know what carbon paper was and three generations who don't remember seams in women's stockings.

    The times they are achanging.

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    1. Hels, I still have some carbon paper, kept for emergencies and while the typewriter has long disappeared, I keep the carbon paper for some reason. I am not sure I even remember seams in stockings, aside from in movies.

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  10. Living in the US sold me on automatics and I've never looked back. Unless you have a serious performance sports car I don't see the point in the extra effort involved with a manual. Autos in France are pretty scarce. Is it the same with you as it is with us... in that if you learn to drive in a manual you are licensed to drive a manual and an auto but if you learn in an auto you can only drive an auto? Makes sense. At least that's the way it was when I learned to drive back when you started with a crank handle...

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    1. Craig, you may be of an age when there was still a crank handle hole in the bumper bar, but I think electric starting motors had been invented by the time you were born. No, it is not the same here. There was the myth that if you obtained your license in an automatic car, you were not allowed to drive a manual car and your driving license was thus stamped. It was totally untrue and I expect it may well be the same in Scotland. It will be in the driving code legalise if you care to check, but who would bother. The myths just go on to suit the arguments. Wow, I can't quite picture her, but I have just remembered Julie who grabbed my father's truck gear stick (no, nothing to be read into that) and manipulated it all over the place and said, it is just like a mixmaster. Funny at the time.

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    2. Just checked, it's not a myth here.
      "If you are licensed to drive a manual car in the UK, you are also permitted to drive an automatic vehicle on public roads. If you are licensed for an automatic car, then you are not permitted to drive a manual on public roads. If you wanted to drive a manual, you will need to re-sit the UK driving test for manual transmission cars."

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    3. Interesting Craig. For much of my life I believed this was also true here until reasonable recently when I found out there was never any law or road regulation about it.

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    4. I remember crank handles. We weren't strong enough to turn ours so dad would do it and when the motor "caught" my brother had to step on the accelerator to rev it a bit to keep it going.

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    5. River, they could also be quite dangerous. My uncle still has a scar on his chin where he whacked by a tractor crank handle.

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  11. Long time I didn't hear from you ! I am back from my vacations in the South of France and I miss the beautiful weather. I have an automatic car since years it's so easy and especially when you are getting older. But I also could drive a "normal" car, because for years there was nothing else and I have learned driving manually. Hope you are well !

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    1. Ah Gattina, could be a case of quid pro quo, but I think your friend is very lucky to have a husband who can not only cook, but also make planter boxes. Believe me, I read everything you publish. Driving auto cars makes for easier driving but it is good to have the skill and memory of driving manuals.

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  12. It's automatic all the way these days Andrew,where I appreciate it the most is on an incline, no more worrying about stalling :)

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  13. Grace, that was once a focus of driving license testing in Melbourne, on a particular hill in Toorak Road at Torronga Road. It is a a very steep hill. You did have to be able to do a hill start to pass.

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  14. Always had manual cars until the Audi, that's automatic as is the new 4 wheel drive I bought late last year, being older now it's easier when at light. I do however love changing gears and roaring up the road :) I miss that.

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    1. WA, just there is something a bit sporty about changing gears, but not so much when it used to be three on the column shift.

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  15. I prefer manuals and own one. My work car is an automatic and I often catch myself trying to find the clutch with my left foot when I get in the car!

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    1. Fen, for most people who can drive manuals who normally drive autos, I think the switch back is easier than from manual to auto.

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  16. I learned to drive on a manual transmission, and of the few cars I've owned, half have been one way, and half the other. My current that's I've now had 11 years, is automatic.

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    1. Strayer, I would imagine you are a bit unusual then. Let's hope your transmission keeps on a changin'.

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